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How did Toni Braxton go broke -- twice?

Plus Christina Aguilera, Solomon Burke, and more celebrities making news the week of Oct. 15, 2010

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SPLITS
Christina Aguilera, 29, and husband Jordan Bratman, 33, have reportedly separated after five years of marriage. The couple have a son, Max…. Actress Laura Dern, 43, and Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper, 40, are ending their five-year marriage. Harper filed for divorce Oct. 8, citing irreconcilable differences.

MARRIED
EW has confirmed that former Friends actor David Schwimmer, 43, and British photographer Zoë Buckman, 25, wed in early June in a small ceremony after announcing their engagement in March…. Brothers & Sisters actor Dave Annable, 31, and actress Odette Yustman, 25, wed Oct. 10 in Ojai, Calif…. American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox, 25, and Brian Walker married Oct. 10 in Chicago.

COURTS
On Oct. 8, Allison Coss, 24, and Scott Sippola, 31 — who were convicted of attempting to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos, 47 — were sentenced to four years in prison…. Caitlin Sanchez, 14, the former voice of Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, claims she was cheated out of millions by MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, and Viacom International and was pressured into signing a complicated contract. Her mother, Hilda, filed the complaint in the New York State Supreme Court on Oct. 6. A network rep called the suit ”baseless.”

DEATHS
Legendary Australian opera soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, who was dubbed ”La Stupenda,” passed away at her home in Switzerland on Oct. 10. She was 83. — With additional reporting by Stewart Allen

This Week’s Deal Report
· The NHL has partnered with Stan Lee‘s SLG Entertainment LLC to create new comic heroes modeled after each team in the league.

· Al Pacino will star in a David Mamet-written HBO biopic about record producer Phil Spector, who was convicted of murder in 2009.

· Fox has ordered six episodes of an animated series based on 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite.

How did Toni Braxton go bankrupt — twice?
It’s financial déjá vu for Toni Braxton, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a California court on Sept. 30. The ”Un-Break My Heart” singer had spent years rebuilding her career after taking a similar measure in 1998. Her current money troubles date back to April 2008, when Braxton, 43, was forced to cancel a Las Vegas concert series on doctor’s orders after being diagnosed with microvascular angina, a dangerous heart condition from which she has since recovered. Her insurance company then refused to cover the cost of the nixed concerts, leading to an expensive legal battle. While Braxton’s lawsuit against the insurance company was ultimately settled out of court, she was left with between $10 million and $50 million in debts, according to her bankruptcy filing.

”This was a very difficult decision for Ms. Braxton,” the singer’s attorney, Debra Grassgreen, said in a statement. ”However, after months of trying to work out an acceptable arrangement, she determined that the only way to assure that she could meet her tax obligations and provide for her two small children was to commence these bankruptcy cases.” A rep for Braxton added that despite her financial woes, the Grammy winner will continue to perform. — Simon Vozick-Levinson

Solomon Burke (1940-2010)
Solomon Burke — who died of natural causes at Schipol Airport in the Netherlands on Oct. 10 at the age of 70 — was once hailed as the best soul singer of all time by legendary producer Jerry Wexler. Certainly, the so-called King of Rock and Soul deserved his status as a legend thanks to the rich, silky performances on tracks such as ”Tonight’s the Night” and ”Cry to Me.” Burke was born in Philadelphia and enjoyed a string of hits in the ’60s, including ”Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and ”If You Need Me.” The singer had fewer hits in subsequent decades, but made a comeback in 2002 with his Grammy-winning album Don’t Give Up on Me, which features songs given to him by the likes of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. — Clark Collis

The essential Solomon
”Cry to Me” (1962)
Burke’s hit earned new fans in Dirty Dancing.

”Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” (1964)
A much-covered soul classic.

”Got to Get You Off of My Mind” (1965)
Burke was inspired to pen this after the death of Sam Cooke.

”Tonight’s the Night” (1965)
The perfect showcase for the legend’s lusty vocals.

”Don’t Give Up on Me” (2002)
The spare, heartrending title track from his Grammy-winning CD.